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Memory Clinic - what do they do?

(13 Posts)
heavenlybrownies Wed 28-Aug-13 13:14:09

My mother was referred for an appointment at the memory clinic who called her to arrange an appointment and she told them she didn't need one. We are now being told that the GP has to refer her for another appointment which could take up to 3 months. I'm just wondering if it is worthwhile or even possible to organise an appointment privately? I have heard that there are things that can be done to arrest further memory loss but nothing to regain what has already been lost so anxious to get this seen to asap. The main area we have noticed she is struggling is finding the right word. She knows what she wants to say but in almost every sentence there will be a word that she cannot find or she sometimes says the wrong word. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks.

Howstricks Wed 28-Aug-13 13:19:31

I am surprised they phoned her..we arranged for memory clinic for my mil with GP..she felt she didn't need it but sensitive GP said it's worth a check up and arranged for my Dh to be the point of contact for the mil wouldn't have remembered the appt even if she'd agreed! I took her along and a lovely doc went through some simple questions with her to ascertain whether there were problems...there were..and sorted out follow up from there. Back to GP I suppose would be best and make sure the clinic contacts you.

fridayfreedom Wed 28-Aug-13 13:26:42

The clinic need her permission for them to see her unless she is deemed not to have the capacity to make this decision. If she refuses then they can't force her to be seen, however they may offer another appointment if you can persuade her to accept one and go with her.
Before she is seen the GP should have organised some blood tests to rule out any physical causes for the memory problems such as anaemia.
At the appt they take a full physical and mental health history as well as info about family health, social circumstances. They will also do some memory tests. They may refer for a brain scan to assist with diagnosis. Medication can now be prescribed for Alzheimer's but not vascular dementia. The meds will not stop the illness but for some people it can slow it down. Not everyone an take these meds if they have other conditions eg stomach ulcers.
In our area we have to see a new referral within 7 weeks ,
In your shoes I would contact the team again or the GP

heavenlybrownies Wed 28-Aug-13 13:28:12

Thanks Howstricks. I was surprised too that they called her as they had my sister's number. Can I ask what follow up help your mil had? Just wondering if there's anything we can be doing in the meantime.

heavenlybrownies Wed 28-Aug-13 13:29:29

Thanks fridayfreedom. Is there anything we can be doing at home to assist her memory?

fridayfreedom Wed 28-Aug-13 13:51:29

If she has medication for high blood pressure, colesterol or diabetes make sure that she is taking it properly.
Keep to routines, have notepad / pen by the phone for messages. Have a bid a4 diary for appointments, messages etc and encourage family and visitors to use it as well. Keep up social contacts and interests. Buy a wall clock with the time, day and date on. Argos do some.
Have a read of the Alzheimer's website for loads of practical info.

heavenlybrownies Wed 28-Aug-13 14:22:29

Thanks fridayfreedom. Regarding word loss should we wait and encourage her to find a word when she is talking? This frustrates her but is that a better approach to take?

fridayfreedom Wed 28-Aug-13 18:49:03

Re word loss , known as expressive dysphasia, this is very common with dementia or after strokes.
Ask her what she would prefer, you filling in the gaps or waiting to see if the word will come. Ask her to talk around the word . It is often a noun or name, so comb could be " you do your hair with it"
It is very frustrating for the person but see how she wants to deal with it. Some people are happy to laugh it off whereas others are more sensitive.

CMOTDibbler Wed 28-Aug-13 19:29:20

My mum has fairly advanced expressive dysphasia which is part of her dementia. In the early stages, she could talk round it -but you had to let her do it, if you filled in she still would go round the houses. Sometimes I could head off a long diversion by a good guess at what she meant and rather than fill in, jump in with a 'oh, I know, yes'.

As part of her memory clinic appt, mum had blood tests, CT scans, an extensive set of tests, and they talked with me and her. Though I've seen private memory clinics advertised, I can't see how they will signpost the support systems which has been the real benefit from the whole thing

heavenlybrownies Mon 09-Sep-13 21:48:43

Thanks very much friday and CMOT. Interesting to put a phrase to the condition. Will have a look at the Alzheimer's website and the Argos clock.

CocktailQueen Mon 23-Sep-13 20:52:11

Hi - my mil's gp contacts us with all her appts and copies us in all letters so dh took mil to the memory clinic. They do a verbal assessment then can refer for a cat scan if they think it is necessary, then they can prescribe Alzheimer's drugs.

heavenlybrownies Fri 01-Nov-13 22:15:49

Thanks very much CocktailQueen.

Needmoresleep Fri 01-Nov-13 23:10:15

Worth attending if you can as the test gives valuable insight into the impact of any dementia. My mum scored really well until she got to questions around orientation, where she was hopeless.

You get your own questionnaire. Plus it is a good chance to quiz professionals.

When I knew the referral had been made I phoned up and explained I had a long journey and so we needed a convenient time slot. They got out the diary and agreed a time with me. Just as well as correspondence kept going just to my mum.

The prospect of medication motivated my mum. However it took a while before she became comfortable with me attending her appointments. Health professionals encouraged her to agree to me being there though she often made me promise I would not say anything.

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